There are many things in IT which are a necessity such as using an antivirus, running backups, and keeping your computers updated. Keeping track of your IT assets is a common item we see that is overlooked. Business, large and small, at times have neglected this simple but crucial task. Keeping a well-documented list of IT assets consisting of both hardware and software will help your accounting team predict expenses and your security team help protect your IT infrastructure. Without information such as age of equipment, users, and whether the system is critical, it could be hard to plan your infrastructure properly.
What Are Your IT Assets?
IT Assets are software and hardware items that the company owns. This list should include hardware items such as computers, servers, cellphones, printers, switches, and routers. You will also want to include software items such as user/device client access licenses (CALS), software licenses, Adobe, Microsoft, and other products that your company purchases.
What Information Should you be tracking?
When we track IT Assets, we like to make sure we know basic info about the device. You want to have as much information as possible in a single location and if your budget allows, you want the system to automatically update when new assets are detected. This will ensure your data is always correct.
You can use a simple spreadsheet like the example that is attached to this post. You can also use a more complex system such as Lansweeper. Lansweeper is our go-to choice for automated asset tracking. It is inexpensive for smaller companies and offers many robust options that makes keeping track of assets a breeze. You are able to create reports and it beats the hell out of doing everything by hand with an Excel spread sheet. Since Lansweeper is installed on your systems and not in the cloud it also gives you a sense of security knowing that you have control of the system. There are many other asset systems out there and you should try a couple before you make any commitments. I would boil it down to make sure the system has information you are needing to track, ease of use, and the ability to keep that information secure.
How Can You Use it for predicting expense?
We recommend giving each piece of equipment a date when it should be replaced and try to budget accordingly. This does not mean it has to be replaced at this date but it will help your business make the appropriate decisions when the time comes. For example, if you budget to replace all computers in a 4-year cycle it will be a pricey pill to swallow then deciding to pull the trigger at the last minute because your systems are down.
We would stress that you assign replacement or refresh dates to critical infrastructure equipment. This will make sure that your most important items are in a healthy state.
How Can You Use It to Protect Your Security?
Your IT team should be able to use the asset inventory to keep track of software on the machine and compare patch levels. They also should have the ability to look up and see if there are any zero day patches that will need to be pushed. Having all of this information will be a great resource for your IT team. They will also be able to use the data to help with troubleshooting and many other problems that can come across their desks.
Managing your IT assets helps predict expenses and keeps you more secure. Keeping a list of all software installed on your machines will help you determine when they need to be updated. Just remember, you need to keep the asset list updated or it isn’t helpful. It’s recommended to update quarterly or according to your change management process. If you went with a program like Lansweeper, it should be configured to update on a regular basis, for example, once a week. Predicating expenses is very valuable information for any company. Managing IT assets help you determine when a server or workstation might be due for an upgrade and will allow you to plan and budget accordingly.